How about a few questions with Amanda Reed of Amanda Reed Weddings!
Give us some background information! Who are you? What got you interested in wedding planning?
An Arkansas native and Northwest Arkansas resident since 1997, I have a background in Interior Design and a love for creative organizing. Like many brides, I meticulously planned my own wedding years ago because “wedding planner” really wasn’t a widely known career at that point. Was it crazy stressful and a tremendous amount of work? Yes, but I loved it! I honestly never gave it another thought and went about my life as a designer and educator until after my children were beginning to get a little older and I knew I wanted something else. That’s when the fun began! I joined with Amy Bates of Bates Events purely by chance in early 2011 as an Event Coordinator, quickly taking on the bulk of the company’s bridal clientele. Shortly after, Bates~Reed Brides was born, and now, Amanda Reed Weddings. Quite literally, the perfect job fell into my lap.
How many people do you have on your team? How many will a bride be working with to plan her wedding?
Well, this answer changes on any given day! Amanda Reed Weddings (and the corporate and nonprofit side of the company, Bates Events) has a core team of four, but we have an incredible team of Ambassadors and Interns, along with some stellar Event Assistants who all could play a part in wedding planning on any given aspect. That being said, each bride has one assigned team lead who is her main point of contact throughout the process.
What kinds of details does the event planning cover? Are there different packages and options? What are some of your services?
Let’s face it, planning a wedding can be a full time job! From developing a vision to researching different vendors to taking care of all the little details, a full-scale planner will save you precious time throughout the process. Hiring a professional like Amanda Reed Weddings also keeps you updated on your timeline, guiding you through the order of importance, not to mention assuring you successful vendors who can be trusted in making sure your entire wedding planning process, including your wedding day, runs smoothly.
But there are Brides who really do know what they want, and know how to accomplish it, they just need someone to tie up the loose ends at the wedding. “Day-Of” Coordination can be very helpful to the Bride who doesn’t want to assign her aunt to pick up the cake, cousin to deliver the catering, and so on. This type of planning definitely has its challenges, but it can be tremendously helpful in guaranteeing that the family attending the wedding can do so as guests, not as workers!
Amanda Reed Weddings offers both levels of service, and even within that, I would say that the contracts are somewhat flexible. Maybe you really can manage the process on your own, but know you want weekend-of coordination AND have no idea where to start with the design process – that’s something we can add on to the contract as an additional service.
If a bride is in the market for an event planner, why should she go with Amanda Reed Weddings?
The single most important factor in selecting your planner – do you like each other, and do you feel a sense of trust? A planner will be privy to some very personal and financial details and have to make some split-second executive decisions on your behalf. You need to know that your wedding will be treated with respect and confidentiality. Likewise, is this the sort of person you would invite to your wedding? You’ll be spending a great deal of time working together over the next few months, and you need to LIKE each other! We at Amanda Reed Weddings always start with a “blind date” – let’s just get together over coffee and brainstorm ideas. If at the end of that meeting, you just aren’t “feeling” it – we all walk away with no commitment.
And of course we all have our own tastes and styles, but it is our responsibility as a company to help guide the bride in creating her own dream wedding. We love to inject a little of our own personality where we can, but work very hard to make sure the bride’s personality shines, not our own.
How far in advance would you recommend her to contact you? On average, how long does the planning process take?
Well, that really depends on how flexible the Bride is! We can pull together a knockout wedding with all the details in just a couple of weeks – provided all your first-choice vendors are available! Typically, though, we prefer a 9-12 month time frame so the potential for stress is decreased! The best vendors book up early, so the sooner you know you want Venue A or Caterer B, the sooner you should secure them!
What could a bride expect from Amanda Reed Weddings on her wedding day? How about during the planning process? (meetings, communication, etc)
We often tell our clients, ” There will be weeks go by where we don’t communicate at all, then there may be three consecutive days where you get a dozen texts and emails from me!” Ultimately, I don’t like for more than a couple of weeks to pass without at least touching base, just to see what new details or thoughts have entered the picture.
What advice would you give to a bride-to-be about the wedding planning process?
This is supposed to be fun! And it’s not about the five hundred closest friends you have invited – it’s about the two of you – that’s all that matters!
We can’t stress this enough… PLAN, PLAN, PLAN! The more organized you are in the months and weeks leading up to your wedding, the easier the days and hours immediately preceding the special event will be. A wedding is a precious event that can be painfully stressful without proper planning. But the real secret is knowing that something WILL go awry. It’s all in how you manage the situation! As they say, “don’t sweat the small stuff” – at the end of the day, what matters is that you are married to the person you love!
How far (geographically) do your services reach?
We do the bulk of our work in Northwest Arkansas and the surrounding area, but we also have extensive experience throughout the south and even nationwide with certain events. We do get to do fun south-of-the border weddings, as well – that’s always fun!